Swarming South Beach: Nets 96, Heat 95 (GAME GRADES)

Swarming South Beach: Nets 96, Heat 95 (GAME GRADES)

The Brooklyn Nets CENTER

Win or lose, this was a fantastic fight by the Nets against a team that has the capacity to explode at any time. They worked for offensive rebounds, made LeBron James earn his shots, and got second-chance points against a team that’s wont to give them up.

In proper fashion, the Nets ended the game by forcing a turnover: Shaun Livingston swatting away the ball as the clock ran out. A well-earned victory, and their third straight against the defending champs.

Deron Williams POINT GUARD

Finally put down a big shot, shaking LeBron James with a crossover and burying a mid-range jumper to put the Nets up four with 35.8 seconds left. But before that, very little out of the star guard.

Hit a three-pointer about four minutes into the third quarter but his tentative style even against Mario Chalmers is disorienting. Williams had multiple opportunities to create something off the dribble and deferred. Sometimes you spread the ball around. Sometimes Joe Johnson’s lurking in the corner, and you make sure he damn well gets the best shot in the game. But sometimes you have to attack. Williams did not attack Miami’s weaknesses tonight.

Shaun Livingston POINT GUARD

Made the game-changing defensive play, deflecting an inbounds pass away with the Nets up 1 and just 3.5 seconds on the clock. Incredible defensive performance. Showed a lot of fight, whether it was the possessions he guarded LeBron James or swarmed Chris Bosh on switches.


There is no reason for Joe Johnson to intentionally isolate with time on the shot clock against this Miami Heat defense. It is just not how you succeed against a team with Miami’s swarm-and-trap defense. They won in spite of Johnson tonight.



He should wear that shoulder contraption every day if it’s going to make him shoot like this. Went at every defender with purpose, drawing fouls, hitting above-the-break threes and bank shots with reckless ease, and dropping a season-high 17 points in the third quarter. Hit a big three-pointer upon entering the game in the fourth to keep the lead up.

He loves these moments. He loves beating the alleged best, scoring in bunches with a ridiculous array of fakes and slow-speed dekes, and it led to some of the biggest shots of the game. This Pierce doesn’t show up every night, but when he comes out… What a beauty.

Andray Blatche POWER FORWARD

ALL ABOARD! Thanks for buying a ticket to the Blatche train, which runs only once every 27 minutes, except we choose the 27 minutes. Instead of train tracks, we run on hopes and Eurosteps, and instead of relying on fossil fuel we burn cognizance and fundamentals. We recommend a barf bag. Enjoy your trip!

Mirza Teletovic POWER FORWARD

Sometimes you forget about the Fearza. That is not his undoing, that is yours. Teletovic put together his best half since his 24-point outburst against the Dallas Mavericks back in January, attacking the glass and swatting shots, but most importantly putting LeBron James in a position to fail on a few possessions when they were matched up. Then he buried two more huge three-pointers in the fourth to keep

The James thing can’t go overlooked. I don’t know if LeBron felt a specific twinge to go at Teletovic considering the way Mirza went at him in their last matchup, but it sure looked like LeBron wanted to put Mirza on a poster, and he just didn’t come close.